Fentanyl murder case stems from 2019 drug deal

(Drug Enforcement Administration via AP)

A murder case against a trio accused in the fentanyl-related death of a Pahrump woman stems from a late 2019 drug deal at a Las Vegas extended-stay hotel, according to court documents obtained Tuesday.

Nye County prosecutors in late March charged Charles Holman, 33, Merrissa Ogden, 25, and Joshua Sanchez-Lopez with murder and conspiracy to violate the controlled substance act in the death of Nicole Steib, according to a criminal complaint.

Police arrested Holman and Ogden on Thursday in Clark County.

Ogden was charged with an additional count of destroying evidence after authorities said she deleted incriminating evidence of the deal from her phone after she had given authorities the device and her password, the complaint said.

Steib and Holman drove from Pahrump and bought three pills for from Ogden and Sanchez-Lopez for $25 each in the parking lot of an undisclosed Siegel Suites, the complaint said.

The “remnants” of the fentanyl-laced pills, which had been sold as Roxicodone, a legitimate prescription opioid, were found during Steib’s autopsy, the complaint said.

The complaint said Holman bought the pills from Sanchez-Lopez and then gave them to Steib, adding that Ogden arranged the sale and had accompanied Sanchez-Lopez to the deal.

Holman and Ogden remained in custody Tuesday and were awaiting extradition to Nye County, Las Vegas Justice Court logs show.

It was not clear if Sanchez-Lopez had been arrested.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid many times stronger than morphine, is increasingly being pressed into counterfeit prescription pills, killing an increasing number of Nevadans.

The opioid killed 255 Nevadans in 2020, a 227 percent increase from the previous year.

It killed 227 people in Clark County alone in 2021, including 10 people under the age of 18, according to Metropolitan Police Department figures.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.